19 July 2024

New Zealand to stay at Red as vaccine passes, most mandates end

It is not yet the time for New Zealand to ease the existing restrictions and country will stay at Red in the traffic light settings even as most vaccine mandates are removed from midnight tonight.

This was confirmed today by COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins, and ministers will review these settings again next week.

“At 11:59pm tonight, Kiwis will no longer need to use My Vaccine Pass. This was an extremely useful tool while we were getting the country vaccinated and in our fight against Delta, but with around 95% of the eligible adult population at least double dosed, we no longer need this. Businesses will still be able to use the system if they choose to but from tonight, it’s not required.

Government vaccine mandates for all sectors except health and care workers, prison staff, and border workers will be removed from tonight. They remain for health and care workers and prison staff because they come into contact with a lot of people who are at high risk of serious illness from COVID-19, and for our border workers because they are the first people who would likely be exposed to any new variant of concern that emerges internationally.

“Red means wearing a face mask in most indoor settings, limiting indoor capacity to 200, and if you catch COVID-19 – or someone you live with does – isolating for 7 days.

“We have put this check in place due to the pace at which we are seeing the COVID-19 situation changing, and acknowledging that Easter and the upcoming school holidays are an important time for businesses – particularly those in our tourist regions,” Chris Hipkins said.

At Red, these are the guidelines, effective from tomorrow, 5 April:

  • No limits for outdoor activities, such as gatherings and events, and food and drink businesses
  • Limit of 200-person for indoor gatherings and events
  • No need to wear a face mask outdoors
  • Other face mask rules remain unchanged — face masks will still be required in most indoor settings
  • No requirement to scan in or for a business to display a QR code poster or have mandatory record keeping.

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